6 Best Part-Time Jobs for High School Students Looking to Work

 To that end, I’ve compiled a list of the best part-time and summer jobs for high schoolers. All are entry-level positions that require little or no prior experience. Many are “traditional” jobs that high school and college students have held for decades, such as babysitting and retail clerking, but some are artifacts of the digital age, such as app-based food delivery and virtual assistant work. And although most aren’t direct prerequisites for career-track roles, all help develop the soft skills and basic workplace competencies that are so essential to future workplace success.

1. Babysitter or Nanny

Babysitting is one of the oldest jobs in the world — predating the cash economy, the invention of the wheel, and who knows what else. It’s also one of the most familiar. Even if you’ve never worked as a babysitter, you’ve probably been supervised by one, whether an older sibling, a neighbor, or a hired employee.

Many babysitting gigs are informal arrangements. They emerge through personal or social connections, may not require application forms or personality tests, and tend to be paid in cash or digital transfer rather than a proper payroll process. This informality makes them perfect for enterprising but busy high schools eager to earn some cash without committing to a steady part-time work schedule.

Find the right parents and those infrequent or irregular babysitting gigs might turn into a steadier job as a nanny — watching kids every day after school, perhaps, instead of a few hours every third Saturday night.

Aspiring babysitters able to commit more time to the endeavor can venture outside their social networks to find gigs using trusted third-party platforms like SitterCity or Care.com, which specializes in caregiver jobs unlike general-purpose digital jobs marketplaces.

Babysitting and nannying wages depend on the caregiver’s experience and job duties. High schoolers tend to earn less than more experienced caregivers with childcare certificates or degrees. The Bureau of Labor Statistics pegs the average childcare worker’s hourly wage at just over $11.50 as of mid-2019, and that’s probably a reasonable expectation for high school babysitters, although $15 per hour or more isn’t out of the question for jobs that involve more work.

2. Digital Entrepreneur

Starting an online business as a high school student is an excellent way to get a head start on life. Just ask David Karp, founder of a pioneering social blog platform site called Tumblr. Karp started Tumblr from his bedroom at the tender age of 15. In 2013, he sold the company to Yahoo for a cool $1.1 billion. That turned out to be a good financial decision in hindsight, as Tumblr’s value subsequently, er, tumbled due to changing user tastes and poor management, per the Hamilton Spectator.

The best thing about starting an online business — or working an online job in general — is that the startup costs are often minimal. You’ll need to work hard to make money with your personal blog or website, but you won’t have to spend much to get started. Hosting plans from low-cost providers like Bluehost start at just a few dollars per month; beyond that, you won’t need much more than a laptop and a comfortable, productive spot to work from home.

3. Mover

Helping people move is another physically demanding job that’s ideal for enterprising young folks with little skilled experience. Because people tend to move more during the summer, especially in college towns and vacation towns, working as a mover is a fine way to earn extra cash during school breaks.

Moving involves heavy lifting, commercial trucks, and other occupational hazards, so many moving companies require applicants to be at least 18 years old. But this requirement isn’t universal. Where labor laws permit, moving companies — especially smaller outfits — recruit high schoolers.

Movers earn decent pay. According to Payscale, the median hourly wage for this occupation is about $14.30, although entry-level workers should expect to earn more like $10 to $12 per hour. Still, that’s a few ticks above minimum wage in many places.

4. Barista

Working as a coffee shop barista is a fairly low-stakes way to acquire the sorts of basic skills you’ll need to succeed in career-track jobs: teamwork, efficiency, time management, following instructions, customer service. And of all the high school-friendly jobs on this list, it’s probably the most likely to offer legitimate employee benefits. Starbucks is famous for offering health insurance to part-time workers — as well as an employee stock ownership plan, a rarity in the food service industry — as part of a benefits package called the Special Blend.

Baristas are part of the BLS’s broad food and beverage service workers category. Most entry-level baristas start within pouring distance of minimum wage; pay at deeper-pocketed chains like Starbucks is likely to be better than at independently owned, single-location shops.

5. Dog Walker and Pet Sitter

Like landscaping and babysitting, pet care services — dog walking, pet sitting, and related activities — is a flexible, scalable, often informal gig that’s great for entrepreneurial high schoolers. Because you almost certainly have pet parents in your extended social network, tapping that network might be all that’s needed to land a steady stream of part-time pet care work. But platforms like Rover.com — the main Care.com alternative for furry friends and their human companions — can help turn an occasional activity into a legitimate enterprise.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics pegs the median wage for animal care and service workers at about $12 per hour as of mid-2019. Jobs that involve less work or responsibility, such as feeding a neighbor’s cat once per day while they’re away on vacation, might pay a bit less.

6. Web Developer or Designer

“Learn to code,” they say. Should you listen?

If you’re more comfortable in front of a double-monitor workstation than a cash register or moving truck, the answer is an unqualified “yes.” Web development and design are among the best-paying office-based, freelancer-friendly occupations that require no formal credentials, experience, or education. Many full-time developers and designers are entirely self-taught, although it doesn’t hurt to pursue a degree in computer science or a related field if you plan to make a go of it.

But there’s plenty of time for that. Your best bet as an aspiring pre-college developer is to create a profile on LinkedIn and use it to advertise your services, as most reputable U.S.-based freelancer platforms require users to be at least 18 years old. (LinkedIn’s minimum age is 16.) Set rates commensurate with your experience; you might want to undercut the U.S. average of about $35 per hour (per the BLS) to start.

And if you’re entirely new to coding? No sweat. Sign up for a coding course or two with Coursera or become a Codecademy member and work through progressively more difficult website and app coding assignments.